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Healing for America

February 22, 2016

During a recent popular sporting event, a star athlete finished the season finding some successes, in spite of a less than stellar season.  In interviews he alluded to a peace he found through a patient coach’s help, the encouragement of friends and through prayer.
  
As a nation, we are facing increasing discord.  We find ourselves embroiled in a contentious election process, the untimely death of an outstanding Supreme Court Justice, disrespect toward police, too often the unfortunate loss of life from disagreements and encounters, not to mention the constant threat of insane terroristic attacks.  

This month the nation observed Abraham Lincoln’s 174th birthday.  He began his presidency in a divided time in American history.  Shortly before he was assassinated his popularity sagged, yet he pursued an unpopular path knowing that God was directing him and opening the doors of freedom to all. He personally endured the loss of children and the sometimes emotional unstableness of his beloved wife. Yet even today historians rank him as the greatest American President. 

During all of the conflict, contention, and discord, he left us this advice.  In his 1863 National Day of Fasting he boldly wrote, “Insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People?”

 “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us...” 

He continues that deceitful hearts will lead some to claim “...all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

Lincoln went on to say “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before [God]..., to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Sincere prayer, a simple yet powerful antidote, offers hope, invites divine help, open eyes, and builds bridges when accompanied with sincere intent to improve.  Washington constantly offered prayers during desperate times and at critical junctures he found miraculous help.
 
After secretly crossing a dangerous ocean shortly after Pearl Harbor, a grateful Winston Churchill spoke at a Christmas Eve service of the fruits that honest prayer and worship bring.

The purpose of these reminders from our history is to encourage each home and each heart, in these troubled times to once again sincerely offer prayers for our nation.   "(T)o confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Mark, John and Bill


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